CISPA Heads To Senate Vote, Rep. Mike McCaul Uses Boston Tragedy In Argument For Passage
CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) is a cyber-security bill that would allow private companies and the government to share information in the event of a cyber attack. For example, the government and companies like Facebook would be able to notify one another when they spot what they believe is unusual cyber activity.
The main goal behind CISPA is to prevent countries like China and Iran from waging cyber attacks on the U.S. However, opponents fear that the bill could infringe upon U.S. citizens' privacy rights. And while an amendment was added to require the government to anonymize data it provides to private companies, it failed to require private companies to anonymize data it proves to the government.
AT&T, Comcast, HP, IBM, Intel, Time Warner Cable and Verizon are all supporters of the bill. Getting a heads up about cyber attacks could potentially save these tech companies a significant amount of money.
What personal information could be turned over to the government by private companies? Emails, text messages and data stored in cloud storage applications could all find their way into the hands of the government though an individual's private service providers.
CISPA passed through the House in April of last year, but failed to make it through the Senate. Like last time around, the White House is threatening to veto the measure if it passes. It's being brought up again, because the sponsors of the bill believe that more recent hack jobs have made its passing an imperative.
Lawmakers behind CISPA have even been arguing in recent days that the Boston Marathon Bombing provides further incentive for it to be passed. Among them, is Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas, pictured above). “In the case of Boston, they were real bombs,” McCaul said at a House hearing, according U.S. News, adding that as a country we also need to proactively defend against “digital bombs. These bombs are on their way.”
McCaul is potentially hopeful that, as with the passage of the Patriot Act following 9/11, exploiting a national tragedy could serve to bolster support for a bill that toes the line on the intrusion of citizens' privacy.